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School Board election outcome isn't in doubt

October 24, 2002|by BOB MAGINNIS

Though local voters won't go to the polls again until Nov. 5, the results of one important race are already known. Because only three candidates filed for the three open seats on the Washington County School Board, the election of Paul Bailey, Jacqueline Fischer and Russell Williams is assured. We appreciate the willingness of these three to take on a difficult job.

Though they deal with a budget that is larger and have just as much paperwork to wade through as the county commissioners, School Board members make just $4,800 as opposed the $30,000 apiece the next group of county commissioners will get.

School Board members must also deal with everything from labor negotiations to parents who don't like the location of their children's bus stop. At a time when society asks the schools to do everything from feeding children breakfast to helping students cope with dysfunctional families, it's a wonder anyone seeks a job that demands so much for so little pay - and forces those who want it to run for the office!

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We'll try to remember that when we differ with School Board members. They won't have an easy time getting the County Commissioners to provide new money at a time when the state is likely to cut back aid to local governments. The School Board will have to work harder than ever to convince the commissioners that every dollar the schools get is wisely spent.

For that reason, we're glad Russell Williams is joining the board, because this retired teacher has consistently advocated doing research before new programs are implemented, so the county doesn't spend cash on untried ideas.

Paul Bailey, an incumbent member and retired school administrator, will provide stability and continuity. Jacqueline Fischer, a retired teacher, sees her role as gathering input from teachers she says are afraid of retribution if they express their concerns openly.

In a perfect world, that wouldn't happen. In the real world, it's good to have someone on the School Board who seeks input from those on education's front lines.

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